“Education is one of the most important drivers for ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity, as well as for improving health, gender equality, peace, and stability. Guaranteeing the human right to a basic education means little unless schooling leads to learning for all children and youth. Growth, development, and poverty reduction depend on the knowledge and skills that young people acquire—not just the number of years they sit in a classroom.

But learning levels remain alarmingly low. In low-income countries, many young people complete basic education without acquiring fundamental literacy and numeracy skills. Even in middle-income countries, many students do not acquire the basic skills that are expected by employers and needed to secure a job. Today, an estimated 250 million children around the world are unable to read and write, even after spending three or more years in school. The urgency of improving the quality of education and accelerating learning globally has never been greater.

Improving learning outcomes requires strategic reforms and interventions at all levels of the education system. Major challenges in access to a meaningful education remain for the most disadvantaged populations, and there is a need to close these gaps and to improve the quality of service provision through better policies and stronger institutions.” World Bank 2017

2017 UNICEF Findings

"The Foundational Learning Skills Module was implemented in Sierra Leone as part of UNICEF’s household survey programme, Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS).

Findings show that a mere 12% of children in grades 2 and 3 in Sierra  Leone meet the expected levels of numeracy skills for their grade. But  not all children fare the same. How a child performs is strongly defined  by where they grow up and by the wealth of their parents, as there are  strong regional and socioeconomic inequalities in the country. In the  western part of Sierra Leone, where the capital is located, three times  more children achieve the expected reading skills for their grade than  in the rest of the country. Among the richest children, around 39%  demonstrate basic literacy and numeracy skills, while only an alarming  3% of poorest children do."